Thoughts on Defensive Coordinator. When the search for a defensive coordinator first started, there were three leading candidates, Houston's David Gibbs, Memphis' Barry Odom and Kansas' Clint Bowen. Bowen remained as the defensive coordinator at Kansas and now we have some more updates on both Gibbs and Odom. There were a couple of reports that came down the other day that noted current defensive coordinator for the Houston Cougars, David Gibbs, is expected to stay at Houston, or at least he would like to be retained and Houston is on the hook for his salary this year.
Possible Texas Tech QB Target: Kylan Johnson
With Jarrett Stidham no longer on the radar, we consider other options at quarterback in the 2015 class for Texas Tech, with Skyline QB Kylan Johnson, who threw for 2,500 yards, 36 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.
Not only that, but it appears that it appears that Barry Odom is the leading candidate for the Missouri Tigers defensive coordinator position after the former defensive coordinator, Dave Steckel, was named the head coach at Missouri State. Odom is the current defensive coordinator at Memphis and one of the targets for head coach Kliff Kingsbury. It makes more sense for Odom to put Missouri in front of anyone because he is from Missouri (he went to college there, but he's actually from Oklahoma) and coached there prior to leaving for Memphis.
If I had to guess, Gibbs will remain with Houston because they may not want to eat that salary, but also because he's pretty good at his job, and I would also expect Odom to take the job with Missouri. He would walk into a situation that he's incredibly familiar with and coaches that he knows.
It should also be noted that Dave Aranda has popped up as a candidate due to the fact that he was the defensive coordinator at Wisconsin and with Gary Andersen moving to Oregon State, Aranda hasn't followed Andersen to Oregon State, but it appears that Aranda has options, including Texas Tech, remaining at Wisconsin, following Andersen to Oregon State or maybe going to North Carolina.
If you wanted to think outside the box a bit and go for a defensive coordinator and fill the defensive line position, would anyone be up for defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski? Kuligowski is the current defensive line coach for the Missouri Tigers and if you haven't noticed, the defensive line for Missouri is incredible, and was considered to be an in-house candidate to replace Steckel and Rock M Nation thought that Kuligowkski is very loyal to Missouri, having been there a decade or so, may not be able to be retained:
Still, there's a balance here. Kuligowski is cleraly a loyal guy; he joined Pinkel's Toledo staff as a recruiting coordinator in 1992, moved to tight ends in 1993, then moved to defensive line in 1996. He has worked for Pinkel for more than two decades, and one assumes he's fielded other offers. Still, he may feel it is his time for the DC job, and it would be difficult to disagree with him. His record as a DL coach has been impeccable, as good as anybody's in the country. In the last three years alone, he has helped to coach Sheldon Richardson, Kony Ealy, Markus Golden, and Shane Ray to all-conference or All-American performances. And that doesn't even mention Ziggy Hood, Aldon Smith, Jacquies Smith, and the other successful college and pro performers.
If you risk losing Kuligowski by giving somebody else the DC job, you give Kuligowski the DC job. Obviously the best-case scenario from a fan perspective would be bringing Odom back, making Coach Kul the co-coordinator, and giving them both significant raises. (Kuligowski's probably due a significant raise regardless, huh?) That's conceivable, but again, Odom could make quite a bit of money as a sole coordinator elsewhere. You might not be able to finesse this into a best-case scenario.
Just to be clear, Kuligowski isn't a name that anyone that is close to the situation is even mentioning, just me sorta adding some things up and thinking that if Odom is named the defensive coordinator at Missouri, Texas Tech could give Kuligowski a shot at becoming the defensive coordinator with a significant raise. Kuligowski makes $299,500 or so this year so if Texas Tech was serious, and there's obviously been chatter that if Texas Tech wants a good coordinator, they're going to have to pay significantly, then this would make sense. And one more note about Kuligowski, he is in charge of recruiting the San Antonio area for Missouri, so he's familiar with the area.
I think that either Aranda or Kuligowski would be home run hires. Kuligowski is out of left field (to continue with the baseball metaphors) for a lot of folks, but I'd love this, a guy with a track record for developing top-notch defensive linemen.
Fehoko Holding Things Down. 24/7 Sports' Dan Meyer talked with current 2015 DT commit Breiden Fehoko, who talked about being a leader for the class and letting each of Texas Tech's 2015 class know that they are all part of a cornerstone of something great. Here's Fehoko on what he hopes to bring to Texas Tech:
"Being an (early enrollee), my goals are the same as usual," Fehoko said. "Work my butt off every day come spring and play for the man next to me. I talked with coach Kliff and he has big goals for me also. We talked on Saturday and he wants me to accomplish being the Big 12 newcomer of the year and winning that Outland Trophy. He told me anything is possible and I'm willing to work my butt off to achieve it.
"My other goal is to take this program to new heights. The fans and the people of Lubbock deserve great things. They deserve a championship and that's what I want to give to the city."
Go read the whole thing, you'll appreciate Breiden even more.
Miscellaneous. Congrats to Baylen Brown who was named to ESPN's Big 12 all-underclassman team (and truthfully, you could have named Pat Mahomes or Davis Webb above Tyrone Swoopes as the quarterback) . . .